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Dog Bite Laws in New York

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Although commonly known as "man's best friend," dogs are still animals and ultimately live by the law of the jungle. In fact, sometimes a dog may bite a person bad enough to cause serious injury, or even death. Most states have laws that address if and when a dog owner will be liable for the actions of their dog. In New York, for example, a dog owner will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog if their dog has been declared "dangerous."

What's a "Dangerous Dog?"

Under dog bite laws in New York, a dangerous dog is defined as one that without justification:

  • Attacks and injures or kills a person, service dog, farm animal, or domestic animal; or
  • Behaves in a way that would make a reasonable person believe the dog poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death.

A dog will not be classified as dangerous if it was justified in its attack. Some examples of when a dog may be justified are if the victim was committing a crime against the dog's owner or the dog owner's property, or if the victim was abusing the dog or its puppies.

Dog Bite Laws in New York: The Basics

It's important to go directly to the source when conducting research, which means the statute when you have a legal question. But, it can also be helpful to read an overview of statutes to better understand what they mean. In the following table, you can find both an overview of dog bite laws in New York as well as links to the relevant statute.

Statute(s)

New York Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law, Section 123 (Dangerous Dogs)

When is a Dog Owner Liable?

The owner of a dangerous dog is liable for injuries that their dog causes to another person, their service dog, or livestock. It's important to note, however, that if a victim claims non-medical damages, they must prove that the dog's owner was negligent.

Criminal Charges and Penalties

If a dog was previously declared "dangerous," the dog owner negligently allowed the dog to bite a person and the injury was serious*, the owner can be convicted of a misdemeanor, which can result in up to 90 days in jail and/or fines of up to $3,000.

*An injury is serious if it causes death, risk of death, serious disfigurement, or prolonged impairment of a bodily organ or health in general.

Time Limit for Filing Claim

In New York, the statute of limitations to file personal injury claims is 3 years.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Dog Bite Laws in New York: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links listed below.

Have More Questions About Dog Bite Laws in New York? Ask an Attorney

If you've been bitten by a dog, it's important to get the contact information of the dog owner (if possible) and seek medical attention. It's also a good idea to get in touch with an attorney to discuss the damages you may be able to recover. Get started on recovering for damages for the dog bite today by contacting a skilled New York animal and dog bite attorney to discuss your case.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.